Robert O’Brien, President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, has tested positive for COVID-19, making him the highest-profile Trump official to get the virus, an administration official confirmed.
It’s unclear how O’Brien was exposed to the coronavirus or how much in-person contact he’s had recently with Trump. Anyone who is near the president is tested regularly for the disease.
O’Brien, 54, and his deputy Matt Pottinger were early internal advocates of swift action to combat the outbreak. More recently, he has focused on coordinating the administration’s pushback against a rising China — he went to Paris earlier this month to meet with several European counterparts about China and other foreign policy issues, bringing along several conservative journalists. In late June, he traveled to Arizona to give a tough speech comparing Chinese leader Xi Jinping to Josef Stalin.
According to Bloomberg News, which was first to report on O’Brien’s positive test, he “came down with the coronavirus after a family event” and is currently working from home. An NSC spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
O’Brien’ is the highest-ranking official to test positive for the coronavirus. Previous White House aides to be infected include Katie Miller, Vice President Mike Pence’s top communications aide, and also a personal valet for the president.
Last week, a Marine assigned to Trump’s helicopter squadron tested positive for COVID-19. The cafeteria and another eatery at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building were also closed last week after a cafeteria employee tested positive for the virus.
Kimberly Guilfoyle, the girlfriend of the president’s son Donald Trump Jr., received a positive test result for coronavirus, causing the couple to leave early from Trump’s Mount Rushmore speech during the July 4 holiday weekend.